Report: Alex Rodriguez's Ownership Group Hasn't Discussed Relocating TimberwolvesMay 27, 2021
Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore haven't discussed relocating the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx as they work toward their purchase of the franchises, according to The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski.
Krawczynski reported they are "are committed to the Twin Cities market":
"Lore and Rodriguez have not yet spoken publicly about their intentions with the Timberwolves, but Lore has been posting on social media about investing in a community that has struggled with racial tension since George Floyd was murdered by police last summer. He has already teamed up with Wolves guard Josh Okogie on community initiatives surrounding the shooting death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center as well."
The threat of relocation always looms to some extent when ownership of a sports team changes hands, especially when the new owner or owners don't have any preexisting ties to the region.
For fans in Minneapolis, those concerns became more acute when a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski brought more information about the agreement between Glen Taylor and the pair of Rodriguez and Lore.
Timberwolves shareholder Meyer Orbach filed a complaint alleging the agreement doesn't have any formal provision to keep the Wolves in Minnesota. Relocation is one topic the owners would have to bring before the Advisory Board, but the board's approval isn't required for a move.
Taylor issued a statement addressing the story: "I am aware of the story published by ESPN and the litigation that has been filed. As a policy, we do not comment on pending legal matters. I stand by my prior statements and commitment to keeping the Timberwolves and Lynx in Minnesota."
Still, the report seemingly contradicts what Taylor told the Star Tribune's Chris Hine in April.
"They will keep the team here, yes," he said. "We will put it in the agreement. At this point we have a letter of intent, but when we make up the contract we'll put that in there. That's no problem. That won't be a problem."
Krawczynski wrote Orbach’s lawsuit is alleging Rodriguez and Lore signed a letter of intent that included language about the Timberwolves remaining in Minnesota. However, the document isn't legally binding, and the details aren't included in the final sale agreement.
Leaving Minneapolis may not be all that costly, either.
While the Timberwolves' current lease ties them down to Target Center through the 2034-35 season, the owners would only be on the hook for $50 million to break the lease and leave.
For those who recall the saga of the Seattle SuperSonics, their plight remains fresh in the memories of fans.
Upon purchasing the SuperSonics and Seattle Storm in July 2006, Clay Bennett said on behalf of himself and the ownership group that "it's not our intention to move or relocate the teams," while tying the sentiment to getting a new arena in Seattle.
By the start of the 2008-09 season, the Sonics were the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rodriguez and Lore can say the right things early on, but it might do little to quell the disquiet from some fans.